Great Outdoors Monday, August 29th Words by: Lauren Rogers

What's on at this year's Kington Walking Festival

Great Outdoors Monday, August 29th

What's on at this year's Kington Walking Festival

There are 40+ walks taking place during Kington Walking Festival (September 15 to 18).

You can hike into the wilderness past ancient hill forts and standing stones, trek to Radnor Forest’s beautiful Water Break-its-Neck cascade, or explore the site of an old volcano. If you're feeling energetic, John Jones and The Reluctant Ramblers have already made a start on their 100-mile walk.

Festival organisers, who recently held their annual outdoor meeting at the 426 summit of Hergest Ridge, said tickets have been selling fast, with several walks already sold out.

With less than a month to go, here are our highlights from the 2016 programme. 

To find out more, and book online, head to www.kingtonwalks.org.

The Eight Peaks Challenge

On Saturday, September 17, Kington hosts the Eight Peaks Challenge. Now attracting serious attention from walkers, runners and orienteers, the Eight Peaks is an orienteering-style event, covering some fifteen miles and 972 metres of vertical, between the eight peaks of Bradnor, Hanter, Hergest, Herrock, Old Radnor, Rushock, Stanner and Worsell.

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Nearly all of it is off-road, much of it is owned by the National Trust, and some of it is on the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Dyke itself. It is a scenic and energetic day out for a walker, and a real challenge for a runner.

Entrants should be confident map-readers, capable of working out their own route. The record – set in 2014 by Sam Mayglothling of Kington - stands at 2 hours, 25 minutes and 36 seconds. Entry costs £7, and is limited to 200 competitors.

Register online, or on the day.

The Dunkerton’s Apple and Cider Walk

The Dunkerton’s Apple and Cider Walk on Thursday, September 15 is a stroll around the organic orchards, press and bottling plant at Dunkerton’s cider mill in Pembridge. Plus there's a ploughman’s style meal at the Cider Barn restaurant.

Not a bad view at Dunkertons Cider Mill. Photo: Dunkertons Cider, Facebook.

Dunkertons blend traditional varieties of organic cider apples and pears grown in their own orchards, and they've been doing it since 1980. From September 2016, they'll be exporting their cider to the US for the first time. Enjoy, yanks.

Book here.

Wyche Way to the 8 Pub Challenge Walk, and Wyche Way Back

Wyche Way to the 8 Pub Challenge Walk will take you along a stretch of the newly opened Wyche Way. It';s a circular walk taking in two new trails established in 2015. Following part of the old tramway and railway that once served Kington, there'll be an ad hoc beer stop half way and an evening meal at the Grade II listed Ye Olde Tavern in Kington. Bring a torch.

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The Wyche Way map. Credit: guysrambles.co.uk

Wyche Way Back also takes you along another section of the 79-mile long path, this time in reverse for a new perspective. Starting in Weobley, it goes past the site of the old caste, on to The Ley - one of the oldest houses in Herefordshire, skirts the hamlet of Logaston and stops at The Bells Inn at Almeley for lunch before heading back to Kington.

Book here.

The Radnor Three Hewitts Charity Walk

How strong are your thighs? This 12-mile walk, sponsored by Longtown Mountain Rescue and raising money for the group, takes you up and over 3 peaks.

Water Breaks-Its-Neck. Photo: David Evans, Flickr.

Starting at Water Break its Neck, the route climbs over open moorland to Cowlod and onto Great Rhos, height 660m. Then it's on to Black Mixen, 650m, via Shepherd’s Well and finally over Bache Hill, 610m, to complete the Three Hewitts. 

Book here.

John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers 100-mile Walk

This long distance walk was created by John Jones, lead singer of folk group Oysterband who lives on the Herefordshire / Wales border. He leads it every year, and this time will cross the finishing line during Kington Walking Festival.

"I had the crazy idea of walking to gigs a few years ago and somehow managed to persuade reluctant musicians and a smiling but sceptical agency to help," said John.

"Rushing from gig to gig, crowded motorways, increased stress levels and time wasted staring out of tour bus windows at inviting hills rolling by just made me think: walking 20 miles, setting up in a pub, church, canalside… anywhere… was worth trying as a much-needed alternative."

Book here.

The Kington Walking Festival committee atop Hergest Ridge.

The festival is organised by Kington Walks, who recently held their annual outdoor meeting on top of Hergest Ridge. It meant lugging table and chairs all the way to the top of the 426 metre summit. Still, cracking photo opportunity.

For the full Kington Walking Festival programme head to www.kingtonwalks.org

NB dogs are not permitted on festival walks.

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Image credits
Kington Walks, Facebook
Dunkerton's Cider, Facebook
Kington Walking Festival on the summit of Hergest Ridge: from left Nigel Sheath, Nick Eve, secretary Helen Yeomans, chairman Barbara Barrett, treasurer Bernard Ray, Valerie Burden, Geoff Cooper, Karen Evans and Jane Lissaman. 
Wyche Way illustrated map, guysrambles.co.uk/the-wyche-way
Water Breaks-Its-Neck cascade by David EvansFlickr.

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